Pollution Control At Western Mines' Myra Falls Operations

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 70, No. 785, 1977

A. G. Eccles, Mill Superintendent, Western Mines Limited, Campbell River, B.C.

Western Mines' milling circuit produces three concentrates (copper, lead and zinc), with the tailings being disposed of at the bottom of Buttle Lake. In view of the mine's location and the method of tailing disposal, a comprehensive pollution control program has been in effect since start-up. Changes in the ore over the past few years have required the use of increasing quantities of sodium cyanide in order to effect a good copper-lead separation. This led to the use of alkaline chlorination for destruction of residual cyanide and precipitation of dissolved copper contained in the tailing effluent. The development of Western Mines' alkaline chlorination plant is discussed in detail, including initial test work and the evolution of procedures leading to the present operation. The current monitoring program is also reviewed.
Keywords: Environmental control, Pollution control, Western Mines Limited, Myra Falls, Tailings disposal, Chlorination, Alkaline chlorination, Effluents.